Hori Motoi (堀基)

Motoi HORI (July 29, 1844 - April 8, 1912) was a feudal retainer of Satsuma Domain who played an active role at the end of Edo Period, while he later became a businessman in Meiji Period. He was the first president of Hokkaido Colliery and Railway Company. He was the member of Kizokuin (the House of Peers).

Brief personal history
He was born in Satsuma Domain, and after his general studies, he learned gunnery as a disciple of Hidetatsu EGAWA. He also learned seamanship and navigation art at Kobe Navy Training Center, which had been directed by Kaishu KATSU. HORI closely associated with other disciples at the Navy Training Center such as Ryoma SAKAMOTO; HORI had a strong interest in Ezochi (inhabited area of Ainu, today's Hokkaido) and Russia, and he even made a plan to visit northern area of Japan with Ryoma SAKAMOTO for inspection.

In 1868, he fought against the army of former bakufu at the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, as a feudal retainer of Satsuma Domain. After this battle, he moved to Hakodate as the inspector of the Court of Hakodate. In 1869, the next year of his arrival at Hakodate, he transferred to the Hokkaido Development Commissioner to be appointed as the Hokkaido Development Chu-hangan, (middle rank magistrate) and successively held various posts, as the Great Secretary of the Hokkaido Development, and the Chief Secretariat of ex-legionary Settlement Office. HORI had a strong influence in Meiji Government as a Satsuma clique, and he was stationed at Karafuto with more experienced Kiyotaka KURODA from the same Satsuma Domain, and engaged in the negotiation process with Russia. During Satsuma Rebellion (Southwestern War) in 1877, HORI went to the front as the Colonel of the Army of Meiji Government by leading the ex-legionary troops.

He shifted to the business field from the governmental service when Hokkaido Development Commissioner was abolished in 1882. He founded Hokkaido Transportation Company (a part of the future Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, NYK Line) to go into the field of the marine transportation business with other merchants in Hakodate, even though the establishment of the business had been once doubted because of the influence of the Affair of Government Property Disposal occurred at the Hokkaido Development Commissioner office. He also served as the Prefectural Governor of Sapporo Prefecture around that time, and then he transferred to the Hokkaido government (1886 - 1947) as the director, which was founded in 1886 in place of 3 prefectures in Hokkaido. HORI often provoked antipathy from others because once again he tried to utilize his Satsuma clique and its political linkage in his management.

When his younger clique member, Takeshiro NAGAYAMA took the position as the Governor of the Hokkaido Government in 1888, HORI left the position of the government director, and he established the Hokkaido Colliery and Railway Company (it is the future Hokkaido Colliery and Shipping Company). The disposal of the government managed railways to the Hokkaido Colliery and Railway Company was arranged in advance among HORI, NAGAYAMA and Tadashi MURATA of Hokuyu Company. However, HORI's autocratic management received bad reputation and he left the position of management quite soon. He also served as the board of director in Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, but he retired from active services when the influence of Satsuma clique declined in the national political arena.

In his later years, HORI also left achievements in education field by establishing Hokumei Gakko (it later became Hokkaido Sapporo Minami High School) with his private expense and provided higher education with Inazo NITOBE, who was invited from Sapporo Agricultural College. He received Imperial command to become the Kizokuin (the House of Peers) member in 1894. In 1912, HORI died in Tokyo at the age of 69.

[Original Japanese]